June is National Pollinator Month! One-third of our food exists because of the powerful work of pollinators like bees. Thanks to our supplier partners, Whole Kids Foundation is able to support pollinator education by awarding bee hive grants to schools.
Tami Enright, executive director of The Bee Cause Project and bee champion, is hoping to create a new generation of bee lovers. She’s working to bring educational beehives to thousands of students across the U.S. and Canada through the Give Bees a Chance campaign — and you can help!
Connecting Kids with Nature
Tami started beekeeping by installing two hives in her yard to help teach her own children about ecology and natural science. Now, she’s the executive director of The Bee Cause Project, an educational nonprofit that provides children with opportunities to understand, engage and learn from honey bees in order to connect with the natural environment while developing science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) skills.
The Bee Cause Project believes that by studying honeybees and other pollinators, children can learn about the importance of a healthy food supply and begin developing the skills necessary to act as stewards of the environment, especially the dwindling honey bee population.
“I love that bees can be a conversation that anyone can participate in and learn from,” explains Tami. “I think the problem we're trying to solve is really twofold: One is connecting the kids back to the natural world. When they start taking care of the bees, they start caring about the bees. The second reason we're doing it is because bees are in trouble. The plight of the honey bees, and the pollinators in general, is real.”
Don’t Bee Scared
There’s a tendency for kids to avoid bees, but Tami’s firsthand experience has taught her that the more children know about bees, the less they fear them.
The first time she installed an observation hive at a school, the students quickly began to care for the bees, name the queen, track the weather and research which foods were available for foraging. They soon learned about honeybee behavior and discovered that bees don't want to sting because when they sting, they die.
“Once the students saw how hard the bees worked day in and day out, the fear went away. They began to realize that the bees had a job to do and couldn't be bothered by chasing kids,” Tami describes.
The Bee Grant
Together, Whole Kids Foundation and The Bee Cause Project have awarded nearly 400 grants (either monetary or equipment grants) through the Bee Grant Program, which allows for K-12 schools and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada to receive support for educational bee hives.
Whole Kids Foundation and The Bee Cause Project also have corresponding honeybee curriculum for the classroom that promotes critical thinking and STEAM skills. Watch this video and learn how one school in Charleston, SC has successfully integrated beehives into classroom lessons and afterschool activities — and why this matters.
Help Fund an Educational Beehive
During June, the #GiveBeesAChance campaign aims to raise enough funds to provide 50 more beehives to schools and nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada. That would directly affect 25,000 kids!
Donate today to connect kids to nature, foster their curiosity about our food supply and teach them how to protect pollinators. The Bee Cause Project and Whole Kids Foundation have a waitlist for educational beehives with hundreds of schools on it. Imagine the possibilities.
Keep the buzz going! Check out lessons from a beekeeper.